CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Domestic violence doesn't just impact a home. It takes a toll in the workplace, as well. So Friday, companies attended a summit to learn how to help their employees who are also victims.

He took lighter fluid and doused me with lighter fluid, and then was about ready to strike that lighter and set me on fire, said abuse survivor, Beverly Foster.

Foster escaped an abusive relationship alive, but she knows many women don't, which is why she's now passionate about helping other women still suffering in silence.

This is not something that happens to someone else or the lower income individual. It's happening all over, said Foster.

Verizon Wireless and Safe Alliance joined forces to get business leaders, human resource departments and legal counsel to the Domestic Violence at the Workplace Summit. Domestic violence has been estimated to cost employers $5 billion a year. Verizon is one company teaching others how to implement their model of helping employees who are victims.

Creating a work environment where employees hear about domestic violence, whether it s at our health and benefits fairs or on our company intranet site where they can find out resources, said Laurie Severino with Verizon Wireless.

It s also about teaching employers how to look for the signs.

It could be tardiness, absenteeism. It could be job performance impacted, whether its physical mental abuse, etcetera, so we provide training for our supervisors in order to recognize the possible signs, said Severino.

Foster knows all too well the hesitation to open up to coworkers or bosses.

They need to be connected to the services that are out there. They need to be open. They need to be compassionate, said Foster.

Because she finally did seek help, she's able to now take part in helping others do the same.
I'm just amazed that I'm still alive. I think it's because God had something more in store for me, said Foster.

Read or Share this story: